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Whitewater Police Dept. employing innovative new technology

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WHITEWATER (WITI) -- The Whitewater Police Department has begun employing new technology in the college town of about 14,500 people -- using "point of view" cameras that are mounted onto officers' heads. The goal of these cameras is to try to capture everything an officer sees.

"Wherever I go and whatever I see, the camera is capturing that," Whitewater Police Officer Neal Kolb said.

The Whitewater Police Department is one of the few agencies in the country to have this latest technology.

The point of view cameras can be placed on a hat, sunglasses or mounted behind an officer's ears. When officers like Kolb are on patrol, the camera is on, but on a buffering mode.

"If I`m in a squad car and I see something happen, I hit the record button and it jumps back 30 seconds -- and it should be recorded on camera. There won`t be any audio, but the video part will be there," Officer Kolb said.

The point of view camera is another tool that helps police detail the accuracy of the incident.

"You actually see the person traveling through the red light. We don`t need to debate it. We can show it with video that officers are capturing immediately," Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher said.

Police say so far, reactions from Whitewater residents have been positive.

"The attitude changed and they are a lot more cooperative when they know they are being recorded," Kolb said.

Chief Otterbacher says the pros are endless.

"This is helping our administration. When someone comes in for a citizen's complaint -- let's watch the video," Kolb said.

"It cuts down on the time officers are doing police reports," Chief Otterbacher said.

However, it's not just the public under the watchful eye. Police say the new cameras offer more transparency and accountability for police.

"Professionalism and doing what the public asks them to do and that it's to maintain safety and order," Chief Otterbacher said.

Whitewater police don't have dashcam video, and never did. They are using these point of view cameras because they feel they capture more of what they need.

The Whitewater Police Department initially tested the new equipment out in 2011 and made the purchase in December of 2012.